I’ve lately been feeling more dissatisfied than usual with the imaginary nature of the zodiac in modern astrology. The planets are in real places, and their relationships with each other are real, but the constellations that are supposed to be behind them and influencing them are not there. This is partly due to precession, but actually the neat 30 degree segments they were divided into several thousand years ago are also a fiction, because nature is never like that.
In a way western astrology is more straightforward than Vedic astrology in this respect. A western astrologer will tell you that the zodiac we use bears no relationship to the stars. I don’t want to put words in the mouth of a Vedic astrologer, but their astrology takes precession into account, so there seems to be more of a relationship with the stars, but actually the neat 30 degree fiction still remains.
This is not to say that western astrology doesn’t work, because it does, and it does so very well. But as an astrologer, what turns me on is my symbolic relationship to the sky, that is the foundation, that is what moves me, and that is what in large measure is not there. It’s like modern western astrology for me is part relationship to the sky and part tea-leaves.
I think this is really undeniably true which is what makes the skeptics so crazy. The sky isn’t cut up into nice little 30 degree segments which we call the zodiac, astrology is a symbolic system and not an astronomical system. Yet there’s no doubt that it works so we have to wonder why.
I have a fantasy that when we take a body on planet Earth we are given this map which contains our quest and our mission (the Sun sign) and a description of the tools that we are given to accomplish this mission (the rest of the chart). The symbols are given to us in the shape of the Sun, Moon and other planets because we can identify with them. We look up at the Sun and we feel warmed by it. We look at the Moon and we experience its mystery. Mercury is the quick mover, the messenger that delivers communications. Mars is fiery red and rules over anger.
Yet there can be no doubt that the planets themselves have a powerful influence. A client who has been going through a difficult Chiron transit said last week “So this wasn’t just a random series of events?” And we were able to pinpoint exactly when the difficult times occurred so that she could see what the changes were all about. Understanding our astrological makeup and cycles gives us a greater perspective over our life so that we can live more effectively and in a more integrated fashion.
Like Dharmaruci I am also becoming interested in the Fixed Stars and have bought the Brady book and I’m trying to figure out how to view the stars in my Solar Fire program. (Any help with that would be greatly appreciated!!) Meanwhile, the Astrology.com site has a page with the position of the major stars and other interesting details that may prove useful for us.